Monday, 12 October 2015

Trying Not To Be Spooked Or Schooled

I have been the sole inhabitant on Planet Masala for some time now – Paul and Ani fled some time ago, and Fred is too busy playing with the cool kids to hang out in the basement (AKA life). That said, Fred still lurks around the Records side of things, and I always hope to entice him into doing the rare obtuse review. One of the first he did for Sonic Masala was for Edinburgh band The Spook School. They return this month with new record Try To Be Hopeful (out through Fire Records) and it stays true to form, offering cantankerous guitar pop that still focuses squarely on being different, and how that is awesome. Having thrashed things out in the bustling UK queer punk scene (which sees the likes of Teenage Caveman and As Ondas plying their trade), it is clear that the four-piece are just as indebted to Joanna Gruesome and C86 navel-gazing, especially on the buoyant noise that permeates hook-laden tracks like ‘Friday Night’. The album opens with ominous named ‘Burn Masculinity’, but isn’t as subversive and evasive as this may sound – it’s a blast. Yes, The Spook School is being more upfront lyrically when it comes to exploring sexual identity and how labels can be still so arduously constricting and caustic. This is evident in vocalist Nye Todd's physical presence too - going through a trans identity transference, which has seen his voice change over the course of the recording process. A true transformation in more ways than one, Try To Be Hopeful is ebullient, a joyous kicking out at the pricks and embracing of the awkward, the marginalised, and being proud of it. This is mostly encompassed by 'Binary', a propulsive rocker gem that questions gender norms and embraces the messiness of it all. I'm thinking that I'm hexadecimal, indeed.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Keep Your Talk Tight During These Rolling Blackouts

There is probably a lot I could say about Melbourne rabblerousing guitar top-o-the-popsters Rolling Blackouts and their new EP Talk Tight. I could wax lyrical about the laconic sun-drenched meandering jangle of 'Tender Is The Neck', reminiscent as it is of the backwards-looking-forward warm fuzz that The Ocean Party happily inhabit. I could ramble on about the heady motorik rhythms and wavering effects that propel the rumbling rock of 'Wide Eyes', a track that has country twang, psych circularity and garage grit bashing out in a dingy basement bar, a gleeful blast that is as much a jailbreak run for the sun as it is a jam spilling into the early hours of a drunken bender. I could embrace wholeheartedly the upbeat canter of 'Wither With You', a sparkling bit of rough guitar pop that evokes a jagged Jonathan Richman or a young and carefree Paul Kelly, riding a steam engine of melancholy into the heart of the sun, the warm explosion masking the chagrin. I could even talk about the rambling on of 'Heard You're Moving', an Ocker Boss-type, maybe an Outback town Elvis Costello, revelling in adolescent masculine misadventures, the big fish frying in the small pond, as the wall comes down. But I can't keep hitting on 'Clean Slate' and wiping the slate clean, a raucous belter that starts off a little like Eddy Current's 'Rush To Relax' before we enter more parochial, golden-age Aussie rock realms, a shambolic jam (still...) that is the way I want to start every day.

Shit, I did say a lot, didn't I? Enough then. Get addicted to Talk Tight (through Ivy League) now.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Friday Cover Up - Melvins/Bikini Kill

It's Friday, and I've been dormant for a week. So let's really kick this party in the guts. Visceral doomsayers The Melvins teamed up with Le Butcherettes' own throat-tearer Teri Gender Bender to smash a cover of Bikini Kill's 'Rebel Girl' to smithereens, which was then swept up and burnt into vinyl form by Joyful Noise. It is everything you could expect from these mammoth maestros - a blasted bit of rawk.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

AA Roman Typo

Another of the acts we have on Tuesday's Sonic Masala showcase, Roman Typo is a new London band that have me champing at the bit. It's clear the trio have that post-punk angularity etched into their DNA, but rather than the Joy Division route, or even the Wire route, we have a cross-Atlantic reference that we don't hear too much these days - that of seminal band Fugazi. Sure, the vocals share a tonal affinity with Mackaye and Picciotto, but there is a languid fluidity to the grooves that are laid down before things blast through the breakers. The inflections, the dragged notes, the melodies that feel ominous - it is all there, fermenting.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Many Ways In To Europe For Fraudband...One Way Out

On Tuesday is the next Sonic Masala showcase at Power Lunches. Joining us all the way from Melbourne is powerful, sinuous instrumental duo Fraudband, on their European tour launching their album Many Ways In...One Way Out. It's a great record too - there are moments of sparseness, and the entire album floats in its own fermented space, even when things get loose-limbed and frenetic. It reminds me of Dirty Three, without Warren Ellis but with his ghost infiltrating the elegant mass left behind, filtered through by crossroad blues, cathartic caterwauls and genuflecting nuance. It's a nebulous work that feeds off impulse and intuition, knowing when to slip into and out of a rhythm, when to stay clean and run roughshod over a build-up, when to hold back and when to purge. It's a classy yet rambunctious affair, and I cannot wait to see it heat up that small mirrored room next week. Buy Many Ways In...One Way Out through Kasumuen Records here.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Hacking & Crushing Dreams

Holy shit this is abusive. Brooklyn noiseheads Dreamcrusher aren’t satisfied with crushing your dreams on their EP Hackers All Of Them Hackers (out through Fire Talk) – they want to smash your sense of reality and render you senseless, gibbering incoherently in the gutter. The metallic white noise meltdowns inherent in these tracks are headache inducing, yet the genius lies in the insidious beats and hooks buried under this ear-bleeding and blasted surface. Take ‘Adore’ for example – there is an almost imperceptibly gentle hum to the beats here, something that would be almost a warm embrace if it weren’t for the bracing skree that continues scarring the soundscape over it. That is the subversive MO of these self-ascribed nihilist queer revolt musikniks – creating electronic abrasion for our sonic emancipation. It takes a special kind of endurance to last out these tracks, with their intent to destroy the inner ear, but the Syren sounds emanating from the mangled wrecks are irresistible. Buy Hackers All Of Them Hackers here.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Busymen Attack!

Swashbuckling Hobo loves their trashy, thrashy rock, and The Busymen are at the top of that particular pile. They have just released Under Attack Of The Busymen, a 10” that embraces dumpster garage echoes, 60s rock organ, and drunken snarls with aplomb. It rolls along at a rampant pace, and is equal parts silly and sordid. Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Perfect Sweet Talk

If you aren’t in love with Austin punks Sweet Talk after their Ramones-meets-Bolan brain buzz opener ‘Someone Else’ screams out of the speakers from their new LP Double Perfect, then we probably will never be friends. Taking punchy punk and freebasing pop nous wholesale, the four-piece tracks here are fast, loose and addictive as all hell. It can be incredibly buoyant and pop-centric, almost teeth-rottingly so, but therein lies their inherent charm. Take ‘Your Touch’, the penultimate track that feels like a day-glo guitar pop pastiche, Buddy Holly on Ritalin, then floats out in an extended instrumental coda with sci-fi synth, a great bassline left to hang out on its own at the death… The band is tight, playing songs that bounce and stick (straying towards shtick without crossing that line), and held in check by a rigidity that only comes from kicking out the jams every once in a while. Double Perfect was recorded in part by Matthew Melton of Bare Wires and Warm Soda – bands also dealing in polishing the past with the fervent energy and unabashed dynamism of the present – and OBN III’s Orville Neeley, so although these songs are shiny, they retain an inherent grit. Double Perfect ain’t perfect, but is so subliminally entrenched in the rock and roll psyche of yore that your tinnitus will fall in sync with their tunes. Grab it here.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Soldiers Of Fortune Are Tough As Nails

Man, this track kills. 'Nails' is the new song from veritable rock god supergroup Soldiers Of Fortune, whose album Early Risers comes out on Mexican Summer in November. Featuring slayer Kid Millions (Oneida, Man Forever et al) on the drums, and Oneida buddies Barry London and Papa Crazee, Jesper Eklow (Endless Boogie), Matt Sweeney (Chavez), Mike Bones and Brad Truax, Soldiers Of Fortune are built to kill all speakers and pretenders. But that isn't enough for these heavy lifters, asking for the aid of the likes of Dan Melchior, Cass McCombs, and goddamn STEPHEN MALKMUS. Yep, this is a blasted rock testament. You thought you knew your rock and roll? Soldiers of Fortune just put the final nail in its coffin, set it on fire and watched it rise like the phoenix, reborn. I haven't heard anything so unadulterated yet so good in a long, long, LONG time. Pre-order this bad boy here - do it NOW.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Loving Frog

The guy who runs micro-label Audio Antihero lives just up the road from me here in South East London - our shared love of local cafe Fig & Pistachio, good strong coffee and "expensive toast" notwithstanding, he has also turned me onto New York duo Frog. A simple name for a complex animal - as is the case here. Audio Antihero is releasing their eponymous EP and Kind Of Blah LP on vinyl, and they are well worth picking up. Case in point - 'Icabod Crane', the opener from Frog. It's a heady, verbose earworm, with Dan Bateman's vocals tightroping between the manic twang of Isaac Brock and the weed-ridden whimsy of Wayne Coyne, and a glockenspiel chiming surreptitiously in the background as the strumming guitar devolves into a sonic unravelling. The whole mini-album is as breathtakingly manic and brilliant as this opening gambit, and while in my opinion Kind Of Blah seems a little more reined in, it is no less enthralling, especially in 'Fucking' and 'King Kong'. The more I listen to these guys, the more I am blown away - I realise this review doesn't do these releases anywhere near enough justice, so just buy the fucking things already. Frog are rumoured to be playing in London in January next year - stay posted!

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Hits From The Box #116 - Waiting To Speak

I spent all day sitting around the house yesterday, waiting for my new speakers to arrive for my record player, just to be told at 4pm that the delivery date was wrong. So pissed. So to vent in a productive way, I wrote another Hits From The Box to stop myself from throwing things I would later regret breaking...

I thought I would start with a band that I will be seeing on Thursday night. Supporting the brilliant Brisbane band Blank Realm at Shacklewell Arms will be Rats On Rafts, who have just released and are launching their own record Tape Hiss through Fire Records in a couple weeks. The Rotterdam rapscallions have crafted a gnarled fever dream of an album, opening with the languid crawl and sepulchral roar of 'Sleep Little Child', a surreptitious 8 minute opener that shows brio and brawn - a muscular psych trip in the frigid climes of your hallucinogenic mind. It continues on, a clouded, fuzz-blown affair that reeks of Husker Du imbibings - which is brilliant. They will return to the UK in November to play with Mourn at The Lexington, by which time you will be as firm a fan of the four-piece as I am, I'm sure.

I dug their split with Dogtooth a while back, and now New Orleans trio Woozy are championed by Exploding In Sound, a veritably unsinkable seal of approval here on Planet Masala. The band are releasing LP Blistered, and 'Gilding The Lily' is equal parts off-kilter indie jangle, emotional wrangle, and explosive catharsis. Almost if The Album Leaf was more interested in Slint and early Built To Spill. Goddamn, I'm sold.

When you name a song 'Brown Rainbow', you are either a puerile punk band or have a fiendish sense of humour. Texans Pinkish Black aren't really either - their new album 'Bottom Of The Morning' is a warped duo intent on obliterating genre borders, thus levelling the playing field and creating an atmospheric borderlands all of their own. Lathering Krautrock, lurking menace, horror score synth and bleak soundscapes over their brittle gloom, it is somehow incredibly hypnotic and infectious. And the brown/yellow vinyl is something else. These guys are scary good (and on Relapse, another great label of quality) - grab the LP here.

Stepping back and forward in time, taking a pagan atmospheric folk take on stadium melancholy, is 'Gunsmoke', a great track from Kentucky's Ancient Warfare. The Gothic lamentation is haunting yet somehow euphoric, unashamedly backward looking, searching the backwaters and fog-strewn plains, taking Fleetwood Mac and Neil Young and burying them six feet deep in an ancient burial ground, summoning their spirits as harbingers of regret. I really like this one.

Tam Vantage is probably better known as a member of The Stevens or frontman of Pop Singles. But he does his own solo stuff too - and has an album, Life In High Definition, out this month through Lost and Lonesome Records. The through lines to Australian moody pop mainstays The Go-Betweens and The Church are warranted, and the silky instrumentation is evident here, but Vantage is more interested in exposing the fallacies and hypocrisies that are evident in the digital age. Reminds me a little of a more maudlin, grungy Dave Graney, especially with his delivery and the present hum of synths here. Worth checking out.

Let's finish off with another Exploding In Sound endorse product, shall we? Sugarwater is the new record from Washington trio Swings, out next month, and 'Tiles' is a 90s echo, inhabiting the space of sadness, wistfulness and whimsy that many great maudlin guitar rock bands mined. Think Pedro The Lion, The Appleseed Cast or Braid - yep, Swings promise to hover at the heels of these giants. To believe these guys are still in college is phenomenal. Really looking forward to hearing the rest of this bad boy in November.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Expectations Hurt

Berlin punks Pretty Hurts are back already, with an aptly titled 7" in Expectations. After their Makes Graves blew me away back in January, I have been feverishly waiting to see what else they have in the bank. The four tracks here are metallic, echo heavy, distorted pieces of black alienation and desperation - the heat and sweat and despair expelled in fetid swathes of noise. It's over far too quickly. Fierce and uncompromising, Pretty Hurts are smashing a hole in the German underground. Grab a copy here.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Rise Of The L.O.T.I.O.N

My brother-in-law sent me a message the other day, saying that after a long stretch in electronic maelstroms he had found a couple guitar albums that gripped him. Digital Control And Man's Obsolescence is one of these albums. The band - New York hardcore noiseniks L.O.T.I.O.N. It kicks off with the winding up of helicopter engines, cataclysmic drumming sounding like automatic fire, feedback heralding in Hell on earth. The sharp short songs inflict wounds both real and imagined, a firebrand brutalism that revels in industrial destruction and repetitive mayhem - with tracks titled 'Ultimate Wound Kit', 'Torture Report' and 'Fukushima Fallout', the desolation is feral and complete. It plays on real life global fears, and perceived futuristic fallouts on the horizon, as mesmerised by human evil as cyberpunk dystopias. There is no hope, no salve, no miracle cure - and L.O.T.I.O.N. exist to aggravate the wounds.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Hits From The Box #115 - Beery Kernel Of Truth

By the time you read this, I will be nursing a hangover, brought on by the bad boy above (NB: the hangover wasn't that bad - nothing binge Netflix and a couple more beers didn't fix). Last night (now; it's currently Saturday afternoon, so I'm pre-empting here) (NB: it's actually Wednesday - didn't quite get to pull the trigger on this post before the booze began to flow...) I went to a 30th at a pub literally a minute's walk from my house where they're serving this, so my night is sorted. I think I will need extra sonic aid to get through the day, so here are eight acts that will hopefully drag me through into the night...

Chain Of Flowers hail from Cardiff in Wales, and are making major waves. Their thundering Gothic post-punk has borne comparisons to early Cure and Birthday Party, while their support slots with the likes of Ceremony and upcoming Destruction Unit (tomorrow) and Uniform (October 26) shows prove that people are taking notice. There is more of a through-line with UK contemporaries Eagulls with their crushing sound and heart-bleed emotion in my opinion, which is a good thing, but the six-piece are carving their own path. Chain Of Flowers is out through Alter.

Going Swimming are a loose as garage band from Melbourne, as influenced by the garish psychobilly punk of The Cramps as they are by more contemporary psych-tinged fare, and their hi-octane meltdowns are pushing them into the stratosphere. Their new release Deadtime Stories takes on the iconic RL Stine kids horror anthology Goosebumps artwork, and 'Yoko, Oh No!' is a surf-instrumental hellbent on riding the wave into Hell, dragging us all with them. And this isn't a bad thing - like contemporaries Mesa Cosa, these guys are tearing up.

London punx Teenage Caveman are determined to tear a gritty hole in the faces of all who stand in their way on their EP, appropriately called Die Nasty. They are just as interested in finding an insidious groove to hang their clang and clamour on, lent dementia and verve by the theatrics and wails of Simone Grey-Ritson. 'Be The Waitress' shows the band in full flight, but each track is coloured by a different brush - 'Mars' plods along, a blues-esque dirge speared into delirium; 'From H2O' playing like Life Without Buildings having overdosed on Talking Heads, The Police and blue cheese; while closer 'The Fall' is a narcoleptic hallucination in a D-grade hardboiled noir set on a 60s space station. It's all suitably strange - something that pays to see in the flesh (if not the light of day).

Austin label Funny/Not Funny Records has a pretty consistent track record with their releases, and their latest looks to follow suit. Crystals For The Brass Empire is the transmogrified monster that is The Diamond Center's new album - a collective of artists that pass through the doors like a veritable carousel, all intent on laying down languid somnambulist jams that melt into the starry desert night. The centrifugal force is the mainstays, Kyle Harris and Brandi Price, and their woozy meditative take on psych folk fare seems nuanced and focused here, even as it floats out into the ether. A good album to hunt down.

Over to Bristol in England now, for the mathy melters Falling Stacks' album No Wives (with the great goat cover art). The Shellac comparisons are somewhat warranted, but there is a more angular and frenetic delivery to these tracks that set them apart and match them more to the Leeds-centric noise bands over the past few years, with an off-kilter sense of melody that the likes of Fugazi and the Minutemen owned. I would love to see these songs in action - the stop/start momentum is breakneck, a whiplash immolation from stasis to terminal velocity in tracks like 'No Stops' that slide nicely into the edgy rock of 'A Fly Would Slide', would make for my kind of live set. Their tour sets off next month, with a show in Worcester with Hey Colossus - nuclear meltdown imminent.

Spokane kids Wild Pacific whipped some feelings within me with their track, er, 'Feelings'. It's off their EP Stacy St Clair, and it's a cracker - both surf-swept and bruised cruiser, with some decidedly soothing solo twang helping push the urgent tempo and some impressive drumming. It is by far the strongest track here, and really says a lot about what this trio can be. Look forward to hearing if the boys can forge forth out of this buzzed earworm, that's for sure.

PNKSLM Records continue to push some great garage/psych hybrids, the latest being the laconic pop shine of The Foetals. 'Fine' has the nostalgic sheen of a 60s guitar pop matinee idol, backed up by second cut 'Malted'. The work from Pink Teens/Temple Songs' Jolan Lewis, Meet The Foetals promises to be the ode to a childhood spent playing air guitar in the mirror on a rainy Sunday as parental records spin lazily by, a portal into a seemingly sunnier time, where even melancholy meditations sound like daydreams.

And to finish off today, we are going with an act that links back to last week's Hits From The Box. We finished off that post with Vancouver's TV Ugly, whose Alie features in Supermoon, another bubbly guitar pop gem whose Comet Lovejoy EP is heaps of fun. There is a lo-fi fuzz and echoed malaise that keeps these tracks from turning twee, but the insistence and buoyant melodies and songs called 'Powersuits' steer close to the types of bands that litter the Fortuna Pop and Slumberland labels. There are 60s pop moments with doses of other touchstones - mild lashings of a sedated Deerhoof, a happily medicated Veronica Falls, a skittish, off-kilter Breeders... It's a really cool record, with grit in the likes of 'Cowardly' to offset the sugar - get in there.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Positively Diät

Another cold, harsh, awesome post-punk gem out of Iron Lung Records here through an East Berlin based act called Diät. Positive Energy is anything but - a plodding Total Control channelling Joy Division duality of rigidity and excess. Easy comparisons perhaps, but it is what it is. 'Young & Beautiful' is as dour working class gaze as you can get, while 'Toonie' is far more frenetic yet no less sullen and sour. They even cover The Cannanes of all bands with Blue Skies Over The Ocean, an indie gem given the black denim turned up against the cold punk treatment. This band is incredibly taut and tight, a fierce unit, but there is a drollness here that adds levity to their abrasive worldview - and it makes Positive Energy a fairly accurate moniker indeed. I'm really digging this. Buy Positive Energy here.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Oughta Know The Sun's Coming Down

Montreal's Ought (who also feature an Australian) brought out their second LP, Sun Coming Down, yesterday. I haven't heard it yet, although I have heard good things. In fact, I only have heard one song of theirs - this, the almost title track 'Sun's Coming Down'. The atonal modulated squall of Viet Cong or Women (admittedly they are also Canadian references, and the cacophony on display and off-kilter art guitar pop here is more akin to Sonic Youth, Talking Heads or Television, but I love the sinuous nature of those bands, and this, so there) with a Mark E Smith vocal delivery, over the top of a garish video that plays like Gregory Crewdson meets Alyssa Monks through the glossed lens of Battles' neon foodcentric artworks. It has blown my mind - I'm racing into town to pick this up NOW.

NB - I just found the whole album stream, so here it is for YOU! Grab Sun Coming Down (out through the excellent Constellation Records) here. Ought are playing the Mutations festival in Brighton 28-29 November, alongside Lightning Bolt, Om, Metz, Chelsea Wolfe, Vision Fortune, Jane Weaver and many more.

Frolicking In Field Hymns

I don't talk about them as much as I should, but one of my favourite labels of the last couple of years is the outre electronic bathysphere that is Field Hymns, constantly finding outlier synthetic sonics to stroke the brain and stimulate the soul. This morning I am enamoured by the 8-bit via cerebral ambient malaise that is Three Fourths Tigers' Indoor Voice.

The title track opens up proceedings, and somehow manages to be cavernous and intricate in synapse-frying scope. But its the dial-tone (both regular and irregular) that permeates the nebulous cryogenic lagoon that is 'Line Connector' where we realise something unique is happening here; it is a psychotropic mind melt in the first half, before holding a note like a cut-off tone before surreptitiously dipping into ambient analogue modulation. 'Windows Excel' is a more "traditional" kosmiche undulation, taking tantric synth into wide, spacious realms - an oddly soothing psychedelic suspension. 'Petrifloral' is almost pastoral in its ebullient waves, both synthetic language and organ epiphany. 'Rainbow Russ' is the score to a existential point-and-click emotive adventure, all VGA colours and vivid imaginations. 'Visitor Sphere' takes the bubbling brook motif that a lot of naturalistic sound collagers use as a carpet foundation to build more expansive, mindbending constructions, but here is allowed to complement a somewhat simplistic sonics to energise an otherworldly terrain - both field recording and satellite sound capture. The wonky buzz and hum that opens 'Other Landings' evokes the ascent/descent of extra-dimensional craft, before a bell rings off and silence, other than an oscillating permutation and a ringing presence persists - a fluttering middle-ground, a floating stasis within the mind, everything out of sync, focus, weightless ambiguity. Finishing with the slow-building amalgam of electro-futurist pioneers that is 'Ensphynx', Indoor Voice is a stunning piece of work.

But I feel remiss if I don't mention some of the other recent releases the label has pushed, especially after my post on Brisbane fringe dwellers FEET TEETH yesterday. There is Murmurs and Echoes from Norway's Andreas Brandal, which somehow manages to inhabit the iconic realm of the Spaghetti Western score made famous by Ennio Morricone, and make it a mechanised Other, with flourishes from introspective, ancient Japanese folk, immolating tape, scraping metal on deserted concrete floors, and latter-day Earth-esque meandering sunburnt instrumentals. I actually love this release more than Indoor Voice - but came to it later. Seriously though, it is bloody breathtaking.

Then there are these two - the Krautrock-via-Pink Floyd dream that is The Snowfields' new album How To Get Good Sound From A Dead Ear; and The Man Who Drank God, the truly warped parallel universe lost recordings of a death cult that is Ak'chamel The Giver Of Illness.

Field Hymns are always pushing the boundaries, confronting and consuming, and will always be worth your time.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Doing The Dialling Dog With Blue Bloods

Here is some fucked-up scuzz from Auckland gutter punks The Blue Bloods. That's right, don't let the name dissuade you - these guys are all about throwing shit to the four winds and not caring what sticks. Phone Sex is all about being seedy, scoring, sleazing, in the dives and holes of the dankest places you can degrade yourself in - 'Methadone Queen', 'Disco Punk Daddy' and 'Razorblade Legs' drips with slurred, spiked spit. I'm not even sure how I came across these diseased release, but I'm infected now - as are you too, now. There is a deliberate lecherous yet killer lurk vibe going on here (especially in the slow grind of 'VERSACE') that I love - it is something that I have always enjoyed by Cobwebbs, although they are a different beast altogether (I kinda feel The Blue Bloods are a bit more loose in every which way). Who cares, let's lose ourselves and all get in the muck together, this Friday night is about to spiral out of control.

Girls Scrying On Girls Scrying

If there is one thing that is always assured, it's that a Girls Pissing On Girls Pissing release is going to be dark, garish, disturbing, visceral and seductive - something like an Argento film, directed by David Cronenberg circa '79, from a script co-written by Ben Wheatley and the Soska Sisters. The band played one of my favourite ever Sonic Masala shows back a few years ago now (also playing - Orlando Furious, Adam Cadell/Tony Irving and Blank Realm side-project Huge Nudes - truly unhinged night). I love these guys, their stilted, dark goth noise always a multimedia concern, with zines, books and artwork intrinsically entwined with the twisted sonics on display. Scrying In Infirmary Architecture is all of this, and more. There is the haunting sultry strike of 'A Fraud, Abroad', the most "accessible" the band have truly been (you could see this being called post-punk, even), an oddly beautiful track. 'Beyond The 12th House' and the excellent 'Pollen Moon' are more in sync to what GPOGP do best - with guitarist/madman Casey Latimer howling out obtuse and disturbing lyrics over visceral, giallo-esque instrumentation that inevitably pierces the sinister mood with spikes of cantankerous noise. 'Darwinning' is even more brutal, flaying and flagellating, with Steven Huf's trumpet a slow yet somehow seductive boil low down in the mix; while 'Scrying' is an uneasy melding of the two extremes. Catherine Cumming's plodding drumming is inexorable, the inevitable pull into the mouth of madness, aided by Huf's bass that seems at once easy, obvious, uncompromising and off-kilter - and I have no idea how that can be true, but that's how it plays out. Ak Buk's vocals are less screaming here than they were on Eeling, their last album, more intent on enticing us down a Gothic wormhole on the aforementioned 'A Fraud, Abroad' and 'Ceramic Miscarriages' (which sounds a lot like defunct Perth band and one of my faves of the last ten years, Snowman). Then there is the weird pop bliss of 'Rainbow Islands' which I can't help but feel like is a cover - I'm pretty sure it isn't, but it sounds so different from what's come before, and  yet is quintessentially GPOGP in every way (including the yacht-rock sax solo at the end, which to me makes this track all the more otherworldly). Finishing with 'Scissoring', another track that sonically feels like an urban nightmare giallo score, with added vocals by Shaun Ryder, Scrying In Infirmary Architecture is one weird, glorious ride. You will feel unclean after listening, irrevocably changed, possessed. You will feel the internal mark of the devil and will repeat in an endless mantra - "I love Girls Pissing On Girls Pissing." Get Scrying In Infirmary Architecture through Muzai Records here or here.

Feet Teething

One of the strangest, most wonderful acts oozing out of the cracks of Brisbane is the improvisational trio FEET TEETH, a band that doesn't get anywhere near the recognition they deserve, not even in the avant-garde community. I have been trying to get something out of theirs on the label for a little while now (it will come!), but until we find a will and way, there is Teething, three live recordings the band did that you can get now here. Utilising drums, marimba, trumpet and electronics (including their ever reliable C64 reimaginings), the band tap into a free-jazz purgatory that is often presents a corporeal, cacophonous cocoon to slip inside and melt away in. It isn't restive, narcoleptic music however - there is an errant restlessness to the instrumentation here, even in the spaces between the chaos - but there is a world being created that requires complete immersion, zero outside-world intrusions. Kahl Monticone joins them on the electric guitar on 'twenty seven minutes and twenty seconds' (yes, the three extremely long jams are named after their length, which is perfect really), a natural freeform extension here. This is the kind of stuff that the outlier intelligentsia that populate the feted Cafe Oto here in London would lap up - but it goes almost unnoticed in Brisbane. Don't let this continue - get behind FEET TEETH and acts of its ilk pronto.

FEET TEETH are playing at the Bearded Lady in Brisbane in October as part of a These Guy launch.